10 useful tips to choose the best MBA program for your career
The party is over! The hangover still exists?
If the hangover is a leftover from the graduation party of your BBA program, well then we cheer you and congratulate you to an important milestone in your life.
You did a great job and you can be proud of yourself! But (yes, now there comes a “but”) hopefully you are aware that the show must go on and the future is waiting for you. By making the decision to advance your career with an MBA program you have made a wise choice. Great! Of course also -or in particular- if you are already a working professional it is absolutely recommendable to increase your competitiveness by starting an MBA program.
MBA…three little letters with a huge impact!
Frankly speaking, there is a touch of doom and gloom surrounding the Master of Business Administration at the moment. The days when an MBA guaranteed a fast-track career with an eye-watering salary to match appears to have faded a bit. Clearly the value proposition has changed. So does this mean that prospective students should give up on the idea of a business education? We say- not at all!
You can turn yourself upside down, it is not deniable that the MBA has proved as a resilient beast over the last hundred years. An MBA is still the most sought-after graduate degree in the world. In most cases, an MBA degree is required for executive and senior management positions. There are some companies who will not even consider applicants unless they have an MBA degree. The MBA is an internationally-recognized degree designed to develop the skills required for careers in business and management. The value of the MBA, however, is not limited strictly to the business world. An MBA can also be useful for those pursuing a managerial career in the public sector, government, private industry, and other areas.
But what happens now, after you have made this important and forward-looking decision?
Now it is time to do your homework and find the right MBA program which will be beneficial for your career. So far so good-but how?
Collecting and evaluating all necessary information to find the best MBA program that fits to you, can be quite overwhelming. Sometimes it only needs a helping hand to follow the right path and make wise decisions. To make your decision easier, we will give you a helping hand by providing you 10 useful tips to choose the best MBA program for your career
1. Choose the right program
Generally speaking, you should always try to choose the program that best fits your personal inclinations, career goals, experience, and the amount of time you want to put in. Schools offer plenty of different MBA programs with various specializations based on your level of work experience, your geographical distance from the program and the amount of time you are able to devote to the program.
Possible options are: Full-time MBA, part-time MBA, executive MBA, and Dual MBA. You may also have to check in which areas a school does have a particular capability. Are electives often oversubscribed, meaning you may miss out? Do they change from year to year? The key is to be sure of what you want out of your MBA and make sure the program will furnish you with the skills you need.
2. Choose the right time
Each of the sophisticated MBA programs will need your full attention and a certain amount of time. Not only that you have to attend the classes, you also have to do homework’s, group works, exams etc. This can be tough, if your time is already limited due to other life circumstances. If already the sheer thought of this program feels more like a compulsion than a possibility
right now, then you should consider to start the program later on when it fits better in your life. It will never be too late and you will never be too old to learn something new!
3. Choose the right faculty
What is important is that faculty are not only well regarded but are also approachable and good teachers. It is easy to be seduced by the thought of star professors. Even the most famous teacher will not help you, if you hardly have a chance to see him. What schools often fail to mention is that with all the book tours, consultancy projects, media engagements, and time spent on that Nobel-winning research project, you may never see them in the lecture theatre.
Go and look out for a school with teachers who are not only good but also real and approachable!
4. Consider location and costs
If you intend to study in another city or overseas, work out whether the cost of living is manageable. This could mean finding somewhere close to home, or further afield, and think about issues like if you want to be in a big city or a smaller town. These things matter to your overall experience. Consider whether you enjoy the bustle of a city or prefer to study somewhere with fewer distractions. Of course it is fancier to tell your friends that you live in downtown Manhattan, London or Paris, but if you have to stay in your 15sqm room all year around because you cannot afford to go out for a coffee, it is kind of senseless.
5. Check the facilities
Business schools have spent millions on their facilities in recent years. It is rare to find a school that doesn’t come up to scratch. But remember that you are likely to be paying quite a few of money for an MBA program, so have high expectations about your physical surroundings. But also be aware that just by having a pool or fancy Mensa on the campus doesn’t guarantee automatically the best program. The best way to understand the culture of an institution is to visit it. By looking around the campus, speaking to current students and faculty, and seeing the facilities in person, you’ll be able to assess if the school fits with your personality and goals.
6. Check accreditation and rankings
It is important that a school carries reputation in the wider world. There are various ways to assess a school’s reputation. At the very least it should be accredited by one of the three main international bodies: AACSB, EQUIS, or AMBA. Although rankings should be handled with care, they are important to the perception of schools in the wider world. When looking at rankings check the methodology to see whether it agrees with your values.
7. Attend a trial lecture
Teachers and professors will be in charge of your education. Knowing their level of expertise, their teaching style and their specific areas of work or research can help give you to get a better understanding what you will have to expect during the courses. Every reputable school will welcome you to join at least one trial lecture to make your own picture.
8. Get in contact with alumni
In this modern times full of countless social media platforms it should be ridiculously easy to get in touch with ex-students of your favourite faculty. No one knows an MBA course better than alumni, so try to speak to several ex-students about their
experiences. By talking to the ex-students who already absolved the program you intend to start, you will figure out quite fast, if the chosen school and program is (or is not) your cup of tea.
9. Check career services
This is an area that has become more important as the job market has become tougher. Students and alumni make their first moves in the job market through guidance and training programs. If you are pursuing an MBA because you want to switch jobs, you should expect a dedicated business school careers department that will work tirelessly to bring in recruiters. You can also expect help with writing résumés and interview techniques.
10. Do it for the right reason
This is maybe an esoteric off-topic but as much as important as the other tips. Please choose an MBA program for the right reason: choose it because you deeply want it! It is senseless to do it because your environment suggest you to do so, your neighbour did it or to increase your income. If it has always been your deepest desire to become a hairdresser or zoo keeper, you probably won’t become happy and/or successful with this program (or any other business programs).
Do it with heart, soul and mind and the success will be yours!!
Now that we have given you some useful hints and tips on hand you may see clearer and finding the best MBA program should not be a big problem anymore.